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My semester in COMP 101 and my writings
By Cecelia L Taylor-Hunt
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Composition 101 - May 13, 2007
Being a student in COMP 101ís Writing & Critical Think is somewhat easy, but writing papers is not. I was absent a few times, but so far I am starting to improve my writing. Thank goodness! To write for class is like making a short film project or create an art piece to hand in to the professor on time or earlier before the due date. Also, I have to make sure itís not a late paper, after the due date of a particular assignment. I have learned some things and still learning others since the beginning of the spring í07 semester through the last day of classes, which was last week. Looking back made me wonder what papers Iíve written are improving and what papers Iíve writing are not what is expected of from my professor. I couldnít picture writing revised papers from the first paper marked as a do-over. But Iíve learned my lesson this time.
As time goes by, Iíve finally learned something. In Writing & Critical Thinking, the class was given the first assignment with an amount of 6 papers - Reader Responses. Each student must pick a source (newspaper, electronic library, etc.), write about it along with a 2 to 3 page response, and cite it as the title of the paper. This assignment was pretty easy. Iíve turned in all of my RRís to the professor. The second sets of papers are Formal and Semi-formal papers. Semi-formal papers are easy to write, but Formal papers are the hardest to write. Out of all the papers I have written, Formal papers is the answer - analyzing items and arguing on issues that a particular group faces then and now.
The first Semi-formal Iíve written is about my experience as a writer, a self-evaluation as a student writing in my lifetime. Everything is handwritten, but that count as a requirement for this assignment. I included the time that Iíve written a TV speculation script, an episode based on a show on NBC titled ďLas VegasĒ. My results were that it led me to writing other things such as story ideas, researching, drawing (by the way, Iím a really good artist) characters, taking notes everywhere I go, and devoting my hours on these things. I actually did well. I felt proud of my self. I was able to think on my own moving my hand holding a pen freely.
I will admit to anybody that there are some worst papers Iíve done in class, and some of the best ones Iíve done. Thatís probably funny for some people, but embarrassing or nerve-wrecking for me. Iím not a proficient writer at all. My high school did not give me enough resources to write. I had to do most of that on my own and I was able to pass. Sure, I had some good English teachers showing me the ropes to great writing skills, but it wasnít enough. Thatís New York City, whose Board of Education is not built for success but built for failure on Black and Latino students from K to 12. That might be a little off topic, but itís true . A lot of people donít know that. That last few sentences right there requires much research and a bunch of interviews.
Anyways, first Iíll start with my best papers. The best papers Iíve written are analyzing mail advertisements and analyzing 3 news articles related to the Virginia Tech Shootings. On the Mail Advertisements, analyzing them was easy, but I just have to reach out for more writing to fill up to a total of 5 pages. Iíve done about 4 pages for this assignment. I received a marked copy with grammar marks and sentences. One sentence that caught my eye has read that I am improving. I was so happy with myself. I just have to keep going with this. What a wonderful reaction it is. Iíve spent my entire spring break working on this thing, along with caring for my mother, who just recovered from getting her gall bladder taken out. Thatís a whole another story.
The second best paper, the News Coverage analyzing paper, is probably my favorite formal paper that I have written so far. Out of all formal papers, I believe this is a preview of my improvement. I have spent most of my evening hours working on this paper - reading, taking notes, comparing and contrasting, and trying to understand. I get it now - The New York Times, Newsweek, and TIME Magazine have their own way of reporting the Virginia Tech Shooting and how they represented it. About a week before the due date, Iíve spent the night in the lounge which is across from my dorm room so I can be able to work on it longer. I took 2 of my quilts, three pillows, my notebook, some pens, the articles, a black folder, and my COMP 101 textbooks. After 4 nights in the lounge, I succeeded. The paper is turned in for a peer critique to receive a quiz grade. It was fun spending my nights in the lounge, actually.
The worst papers I have written are The Toulmin and the Rogerian Papers relating to the topic of questioning oneís religious faith or belief. The results of those papers are awful and I donít know what to do with them. Both of those papers are argument papers. In the Toulmin model, the goal is to win the argument against the opposing side. In the Rogerian model, the goal is trying to compromise with both sides without thinking of winning the argument of any of the opposing sides. It is not an easy task to accomplish. I gave them all that I got and I failed miserably. To tell the truth, I'm not a fan of argument papers. I refuse to write them professionally, really. Argument papers scare me the most out of all things. Sure, I can read some argument papers to tolerate with, but most of the times, I can't. They're not sitting well with me, so something's wrong.
On the Toulmin model paper, or Position Paper, thereís a tiny effort put into this project. On the Rogerian model paper, thereís no effort at all. I gave up trying and thereís no use for writing these argument papers. I do not like arguing on long term issues that I know nothing about in this day of time. I have found some problems with both of my papers: it's not persuasive enough, my intro was not well written, and I have not shown any examples in my writing. I hated myself for not doing a good job at all. Another reason is not spending enough time on both of my papers. I regret for not doing that. That is definitely not me. I always spend time on writing papers, but the two formal papers I've written have raised their red flags saying that I have to get myself together or else I fail COMP 101 to take it again next semester. I will save myself from failure and from being upset.
There are lessons to be learned. The first one is turning things in on time. If late, bring a note the next time I bring in the project. For me, it can be my note or a doctorís note. The second one is devoting a set of long hours working on a very hard paper. I admit it: I have never devoted my hours on writing a 5-page argument paper in the spring semester. Itís just not my style of writing. I will rant on my own webpage, which is easier, but making it professional is not something I want. The third thing is if I have a study partner, study with him/her. When it comes to COMP 101 and Intro to Human Genetics, I have no study partners but the ones from Stage Management and Foundations of Stage Design. Finally, be smart about things. I certainly will be smart about scheduling hours on working the assignments, having any room (i.e. Lounge) to myself in the evenings, and turning things on time.
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